I’ve looked at a lot of LinkedIn profiles, usually while doing research for clients. A high percentage of business people are using the site, but not many are using it to best effect. Given that your LinkedIn profile is probably the first thing that someone will come across if searching for you online, it surprises me that people aren’t making the most of this incredible tool. So here are some tips on what you can do to ‘pimp your profile’.
- Get on it – for those of you that haven’t yet got a LinkedIn account, I recommend that you do. Apart from the many reasons I could give you for having a presence on LinkedIn, not being there is equivalent to a company not having a website. So open an account and help people find you.
- Create a profile – write something about yourself and even better try to make it sound interesting. A list of bullet points about your ability to project manage and deliver savings isn’t very engaging. Try to tell a short story about who you are, what you do, and what you offer.
- Add a picture – add a picture that reflects your professional image – it’s only ok to have pictures of you with your children if your niche involves children. Also ensure that it’s a head and shoulders picture rather than a full body shot, as the space isn’t very big and people will want to see what you look like. For those people that have a really good reason why they can’t put their picture online (and I have heard some genuinely good reasons), use an avatar instead.
- Customise your headline – your headline is the description of you that will come up in searches. Don’t put ‘Owner’ of ‘Director’. It might make your ego happy, but it doesn’t tell anyone what you do. So give it some thought, and use something meaningful, such as WordPress Web Developer, App Designer, Energy Consultant…
- Add skills – in your profile there is a space for you to add your skills. Add these to show what you specialise in, and you may find that people start endorsing you for them.
- Customise your URL – LinkedIn will generate a web address for your page. You can customise this to something that is more relevant, such as your name. It’s useful when promoting your page.
- Get connected – I rarely invite someone to connect if I see that they have fewer than 20 connections, as it looks to me like they’re not interested in LinkedIn and would rather not be bothered. If someone is searching for you, it helps for them to see that you’re a well connected person. You don’t have to connect with everyone, in fact you should be selective and keep it to the people that you genuinely do or would like to do business with, but d make some connections. You can upload your address book to LinkedIn and it will tell you who you know that is on LinkedIn and make it easy for you to send an invitation.
- Set up a company page – so people that are interested in your company can follow all your news.
- Join groups – there are groups for just about everything on LinkedIn. Join some that are relevant to your job and/or interests. This is a place where you can interact with your peers from across the world, share information, ask for advice and give advice. And by interacting, it’s also a great way for you to build your own profile amongst your peer group.
- Use the apps – you can stream your blogs, presentations (via SlideShare), your portfolio, etc, all to your page. People need only visit your LinkedIn page to see everything that you’re talking about.
- Make updates – share interesting articles, your own blogs and materials relevant to your niche, plus what you’re working on, etc via the ‘share an update’ box. Let people know what you’re about, so that they can decide whether they would like to do business with you.
- Use updates – in the same way that you can search for a specific topic on Twitter using hashtags, on LinkedIn you can search for discussions and posts about any particular subject. This helps you ‘meet’ people that are interested in the same subjects as you, and find information. In the search box at the top right hand of the screen, choose ‘updates’ from the drop down menu, and type in your search term.
- Make recommendations – be nice to the people that have done a great job for you and recommend them, by writing a short testimonial. Likewise, you can ask people to recommend you. My top tip – don’t ask 10 people on the same day. Five will appear and it will look pretty obvious that you’ve requested them. Just ask one person, every now and again.
- Be generous – don’t hide your connections. The spirit of social media is to share, so let your connections see who you know.
- Be helpful – post information that you think you’re network would like to know about, answer questions in groups and generally show yourself to be a helpful member of your community. Then, when you need something, people are much more likely to help you.
Finally, there is a huge amount of functionality on LinkedIn to help you with a job search, that’s not covered in this blog. You can read my earlier blog here, an interview with recruitment consultant, Gareth Longley, on his views on using social media to help with your job search here:
By Christine Jones